Mary Winters moved from Fort Smith, Ark., to western North Carolina when she was 10, then to Hendersonville, N.C.
In Hendersonville, she joined the Girl Scouts and started making posters. Winters’ grandfather’s sister was an artist and several of her paintings have been kept in the family.
Winters graduated from high school in 1942 at the time of World War II and remembers singing as a member of a community choral group for the hospitalized soldiers returning from the war.
After graduating from Hendersonville High School, she enrolled in a business course, learned bookkeeping and went to work for Town Office Supply. She took art classes for four years with Clara Lawton Smith, a portrait painter.
She was also active in the youth ministry where she met Rhett. They married and moved to Murphy, N.C., where their first child was born in 1952..
When her children started growing up, Winters “started back with art and joined art groups wherever we lived.” They moved to Chester, S.C., where she joined the South Carolina Watercolor Association. During this time she took an art course for at Winthrop College.
One of her watercolors was featured in the Spring Mills Art Show in Lancaster, S.C.
Around 1988, the family moved to Belvedere. Rhett retired as an Episcopal priest and Winters joined the Aiken Artist Guild. She joined the North Augusta Artists Guild when it was reorganized in 2007. She also took evening art classes at the Gregg Park Civic Center in Graniteville, under the instruction of Chester Cromwell.
Winters attended classes by Jim Gensheer when he was teaching at the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art. When the Golf and Gardens first opened, a group of her friends would enjoy painting en plain air (outdoor painting) at the gardens. She added that “when she and Rhett were visiting her sister, Rhett picked leaves and plants when he was on a hike and brought them home to me. These are the leaves and plants that are in my painting.”
Today, Winters and her husband have been married 61 years and have been blessed with five grown children, seven grandchildren, and nine great grandchildren and are active members of St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church.